• Saudi Arabia's benchmark index declined 0.7pc in early trade, with Al Rajhi Bank shedding 0.6pc and Saudi Telecom losing 1.1pc.
  • In Abu Dhabi, the index dropped 1.4pc, as First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates' largest lender, eased 1.8pc and telecoms firm Etisalat was down 1.7pc.
  • The Qatari index traded 0.3pc lower. Market heavyweight Industries Qatar decreased 1.7pc, while Qatar National Bank slid 1.6pc.

Most major Gulf bourses retreated on Wednesday after two sessions of gains as investors tempered their optimism about the coronavirus while death tolls were still mounting around the globe.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index declined 0.7pc in early trade, with Al Rajhi Bank shedding 0.6pc and Saudi Telecom losing 1.1pc.

Amongst others, oil giant Saudi Aramco fell 0.3pc to 31.9 riyals below its initial public offering price of 32 riyals.

The new coronavirus could eventually infect between 10,000 and 200,000 people in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom's health minister said on Tuesday, urging the public to adhere more closely to state directives against mixing and movement.

In Abu Dhabi, the index dropped 1.4pc, as First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates' largest lender, eased 1.8pc and telecoms firm Etisalat was down 1.7pc.

The Qatari index traded 0.3pc lower. Market heavyweight Industries Qatar decreased 1.7pc, while Qatar National Bank slid 1.6pc.

Most Middle Eastern countries are seeing worrying daily increases in cases of the new coronavirus but the region still has a chance to contain its spread, a senior World Health Organization official said on Tuesday.

The Dubai index, however, edged up 0.2pc, supported by a 4.1pc rise in Emirates NBD Bank.

As of April 7, the UAE had registered a total of 2,359 cases. The pandemic has forced vital sectors of its economy, such as tourism and transport, to a near standstill.